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The Stone Breaker

 

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John Brett, 1831-1902
A Pre-Raphaelite painter, Brett is famous for his detailed and precise landscapes.

The Stonebreaker, 1858, Oil on canvas, 51.3 x 68.5cm, Walker Art Gallery.
The colours in the painting are startlingly bright and vivid, typical of a Pre-Raphaelite painting. The boy is breaking stones, the kind of work that was low paid and often given to paupers. The litte dog is playing and clearly having fun, taking advantage of the glorious weather and the beautiful countryside in which he finds himself. In stark contrast the boy looks bored and far from contented, having to do hard labour instead of being able to play as boys should.

There seems to have been a large number of paintings about stone breakers in the nineteenth cenutry and we have provided a list below of those ones we could find on the web.
Click on thumbnail for larger image.

Stone-Breakers on the Road George Walker (1781-1856)
Stone-Breakers on the Road 1814
Plate VIII of the book "The Costume of Yorkshire" punlished 1814.
The aim of the book was to create a record of the occupations and dress of the working classes in Yourshire.
The Stone Breaker and his Daughter

Edwin Henry Landseer, 1802-1873
The Stone Breaker and his Daughter, 1830, V&A

A sentimentalised view of the rural poor, but wonderfully executed, nevertheless.

Courbet The Stonebreakers

Gustave Courbet
The Stone Breakers 1848-50
Probably the most famous painting of stone breakers. Famous, probably, because of Courbet's place within art history. Courbet wanted to break away from the artistic conventions of his time and paint "realist" subjects - that is, to paint ordinary working people and, further, to give them a dignity usualy reserved for more "important" personages. This picture is mostly about shocking the establishment and the message, if there is one, is simple: Stone breaking maybe back breaking work, but there is a dignity in it none the less. (more discussion at )

 

The Stone Breaker, 1857

Henry Wallis 1830-1916
The Stone Breaker, 1857 oil on canvas, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
The man in the painting is not asleep, but dead. Literally worked to death.

The Stone Breakers, 1876

William Darling Mackay, 1844-1924
The Stone Breakers, 1876 Private Collection Pastoral landscapes and scenes of rural life in East Lothian
(This image is pretty poor quality but the only one we can find)

The Stone Breaker 1886

James Guthrie, 1859-1930
The Stone Breaker 1886, Paisley Museum and Art Galleries

Originally part of a larger painting in which the stone breaker was talking to a horse rider.
See www.artistsfootsteps.co.uk

Stone Breakers at Lungotevere, 1893

Giovanni Giacometti 1868-1933
Stone Breakers at Lungotevere, 1893
This appears to be more of a landscape painting than a study of stone breakers. The quietly working stone breakers blend in with the wonderfully bright colours and almost classical treatment of this scene.

The Stone Breakers, 1910

Robert Hermann Sterl, 1867-1932
The Stone Breakers, 1910

Stone Breaker (Casseur de pierres, Le Raincy)

Georges-Pierre Seurat
Stone Breaker (Casseur de pierres, Le Raincy) c. 1879-81. Conté crayon and graphite on paper
Seurat produced many works of stone breakers, more, I suspect, as a means of perfecting his painting tecniques than anything else.

The Stonebreaker Georges-Pierre Seurat
The Stone Breaker
The Stonebreaker Georges-Pierre Seurat
The Stone Breaker
The Stonebreakers Georges-Pierre Seurat
The Stone Breakers
The Stone Breaker and Wheel Barrow 1882 Georges-Pierre Seurat
The Stone Breaker and Wheel Barrow 1882

 

 

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